The Royal Palace
The Palace started out as a fortress in the mid-13th century (although it has been suggested that some fortifications had existed on the site since the 10th century) and developed into a palace known as the Tre Kronor ("Three Crowns") taking on Baroque style in the 17th century. Much of the castle and palace, with the exception of the North Wing was destroyed by fire in 1697, resulting in the construction of the existing palace during the 18th century. The construction took considerably longer than anticipated and it was not completed for habitation until 1754, meaning that the Royal Family were not able to move in until then.
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Today it is the official residence and office of the Swedish monarch and members of the Royal Family. It also holds the offices of the Royal Court of Sweden and contains a number of museums.
Constructed of brick, the Palace is spread over of 7 floors. Each of the four façades has a specific representation, the west façade represents the king and is bordered by the wings which enclose the open space; the east façade represents the queen and faces the quay and waterfront; the southern façade represents the nation and faces the sloping area leading up from the waterfront and the northern façade represents the common royals. The length of the façade from east to west is 115 metres and from north to south 120 metres with the four wings of the building surrounding an inner courtyard. The roof is covered with copper and is surrounded by a stone balustrade which surrounds the main building.
On entering the Palace through the arch in the western façade, visitors can turn right and visit the church, where services are still held. Turning left will take them to the State Room. The Hall of State was used as the House of Parliament until 1866. This room was used to show the televised opening of parliament until 1975. Today it is used for official ceremonies and contains the silver throne of Queen Kristina for her coronation in 1650, which was also used when Carl XVI Gustaf became Sweden's king in 1973. The room is used during the summer for concerts.
On the second floor of the northern wing is the Bernadotte Gallery which houses the portraits of all Swedish kings and queens since 1818. On the floor above is the ballroom which is still used for entertaining.
Also in the North wing is the Karl XI Gallery that is now used for state dinners. Adjoining that is the White Sea room which was the old ballroom. This was formed from two rooms in 1845. Next to that is the cabinet meeting room and a number of guest apartments are also to be seen. The bedroom where Gustav Ill (1771 –1792) died after being shot at the Opera can also be visited.
Also contained in the Palace is the Armoury, displaying royal costumes and armour and a number of coaches, including the coronation carriage. The Treasury in the cellar vaults houses the royal regalia used for weddings, christenings and funerals. This includes the sword of state of Gustav I (1523 –1560), the crown, sceptre and orb of Erik XIV (1560 –1568) and a number of other crowns as well as the silver baptismal font used at royal baptisms dating from 1696.
Unfortunately, photography is not allowed in many areas of the Palace - even without flash - so the author is not able to provide a virtual tour of the palace.
It is permitted to take photographs of the Royal Guards who have been stationed at the Royal Palace since 1523 and are provided by different units from the Swedish army in rotation. Not only do they provide security but also form part of the tourist attraction especially during the changing of the guard ceremony.
To see more photographs and take a virtual tour of the site click on the photoshow below.